We are a world that relies on convenience. We don’t have the time to sit down and eat during our hectic days and yet we want to make healthy choices for ourselves. If you walk down the aisle at the grocery with all of the bars that claim to give you the extra boost in your day, you can also find that these bars have lists of about 25 ingredients. Many of these ingredients are unrecognizable and yet the eye-catching packages are labeled in a way that we think, this has to be good for me, right? Not necessarily.
I have a few things I try to stick to when it comes to food. When selecting something at the grocery that is not produce, I try to stick to items with ingredients that I have heard of and items with about 5-7 ingredients or less. Sure, there are some things that may go a bit above this number and still be ok, but I think its a good guideline. A couple years ago, I discovered Larabars. I was amazed that a prepackaged nutrition bar actually contained very few ingredients, and even better, ingredients that I had heard of and eaten many times. They became my on-the-go snack when I needed a quick bite on the run.
The great thing that companies who manufacture energy bars full of chemicals and other unknown ingredients, is that they don’t have to worry about anyone out there trying to create their recipe at home. With the Larabars, it is a different case. When I realized how easy it was to throw some ingredients in a food processor and then press them into a pan or form them into balls, I was no longer in need of shelling out a dollar or so for each bar. Instead, I could make quite a few for the same price, and personally, I like mine better!
Every so often I try to play with a new flavor and lately I have been using a lot of lemon in recipes so I had a few sitting around. Lemon is always so refreshing and since it’s been so cold outside, I was in need of a little something to add a bit of sunshine to my day. The end result was these new Coconut Lemon Energy Bars. They have the same consistency as a Larabar. You can roll them into balls as I have done in other recipes or form bars if you like. When I make these, I typically use pecans and almonds. You can really use any nut you like. I had some cashews recently and threw those in and this still tasted great. It’s really up to you. So go on and give them a try!
Coconut Lemon Energy Bars
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 9 large medjool dates pitted
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
- 1 tsp lemon zest if you don't use the zest, just add the juice of the entire lemon
- In food processor, mix pecans, almonds and coconut. (You can really process however you like, either to a thin, grainy texture or more of a chunky consistency. I like to still have pieces of almonds mixed in so I never over-process.)
- Add in dates, vanilla, juice and zest. Process until a dough forms.
- Press into a pan lined with parchment paper firmly. I used an 9 inch pan and just pressed into the edge and out. This did not completely fill the pan though. It would probably perfectly fit in a large bread pan or something slightly larger. Make sure that the dough is spread evenly and about 3/4 inch thick.
- Chill for about 30-45 minutes and then cut into individual bars. Store in the refrigerator.